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Giving false info in court interferes with administration of justice, amounts to contempt - Contemner send to 4 weeks in prison

Giving false info in court interferes with administration of justice, amounts to contempt - Contemner send to 4 weeks in prison

Sivakumar Vs A Radhakrishnan

Madras HC


Contempt Petition No. 1135 of 2020

About/from the judgment:

The High Court has recently sentenced a litigant to undergo simple imprisonment for four weeks for filing false affidavit in Court, thereby attempting to interfere with the course of administration of justice, punishable under Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

Section 2(c)(iii) of the Act defines "criminal contempt" as any publication which interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.

The Court passed the orders on a Contempt Petition filed under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971 against A Radhakrishnan to prosecute him for his illegal activities. The petition was filed after obtaining the consent of the Advocate General.

The respondent was prosecuted under four charges-

1. For giving false address in his affidavit before the Court;
2. For falsely claiming that he is a trustee of Arulmighu Sugavaneshwarar Thirukoil, Salem;
3. For falsely stating that he is a trustee of Arulmighu Kamanatheeshvarar Temple, Attur Taluk, Salem District;
4. For falsely stating that he is one of the trustees of Sakthi Vinayagar Temple, Krishnagiri.

With respect to the first charge, Mr Radhakrishnan in his reply submitted that the address he gave in the affidavits was the one where he was born and brought up and is not far from where he is presently residing. He also claimed that any communication sent to that address shall also reach him. Therefore, there was no wilful interference to the administration of justice.

The court rejected this contention and held that -

"When a person files an affidavit especially in a public interest litigation, he is required to disclose his true details. Giving an address in the affidavit knowing full well that it is not the correct one, per se, amounts to criminal contempt, because, the respondent does not want to be reached by the Court and wants to remain incognito."

With respect to the second charge, Mr. Radhakrishnan submitted that he was a Kattalaidharar of the temple and he genuinely believed that Kattalaidharar translates to Trustee in English. For the third and fourth charges he submitted that the petitions were copy-pasted

The court was not satisfied with this contention and held that Mr. Radhakrishnan had tried to mislead the court by calling himself as a Trustee when actually he was not one.

The court also noted the modus operandi of Mr Radhakrishnan where he files petitions claiming to be a trustee of these temples and praying for removal of encroachment from these temples. These reliefs are only claimed against the government authorities without including any of the encroachers.

The court also observed that contempt proceedings are between the court and the contemnor. Hence, motive, which is normally alleged in criminal cases for false implication, does not apply to contempt cases.

"Acts of giving false information would definitely interfere with the administration of justice and would fall within the expression "the administration of justice in any other manner" in Section 2(c)(iii) of the Contempt of Courts Act," it said while imposing sentence of four weeks for each charge, to run concurrently.

Read the Judgment


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